Speaking Up: What Are We So Afraid Of?

Speaking up… In my post last week on authenticity I referenced the notion of speaking up as one component to authentic freedom. Of all the 5 points I listed, speaking up seemed to bring on the most feedback. I heard things like, “I really need to work on speaking up”, “I don’t speak up enough”, and “thank you for giving me permission to speak up for myself”.

This got me thinking: What is it about speaking up – bringing voice to our feelings and thoughts – that causes so much anxiety and apprehension? I realized this is worth exploring…

Continue reading

Free Your Mind: 5 Steps to Cleaning Out the Mental Clutter

I’ve been experiencing some type of writers block here recently. It’s like my brain, after a long hard summer, has powered down into hibernation mode. It’s not ready to gear back up until it has fully recharged and that moment is currently unforeseen. I’m just here patiently, or impatiently, awaiting its return.

While I sit here twiddling my thumbs, I am curious if this mental silence has anything to do with the actual sharing that’s taken place here in the past two months. When we first launched the blog the words couldn’t seem to come out fast enough. My mind was in overdrive. The thoughts were just begging to break out. As if they’d been shoved into a confined space for so long that at the first sight of light they took the opportunity to dive headfirst onto the page. They knew if they didn’t seize the moment, they might be trapped inside forever! Well, take a chill pill, guys. You’re free to dance across whatever page you wish now. This is the internet, after all.

Now that my mind is emptied of all its old “friends” I feel… what’s the word… Empty?  No, that’s not it. Clear? Possibly. Content? Perhaps. At ease? Yes, that one seems to fit. At ease. It may be best described as having room to move around more fluidly without bumping into sensitive spaces at every turn. Calm. Content. Clear. At ease. With room to fill.
 
I don’t exactly want to fill up the space again, however. I don’t want to re-clutter my space only to have to clean it out again. What’s the sense in that? A light dusting now and then? Perhaps. That’s just practical maintenance right there. Got to maintain the space to keep it tidy. How do I do this, though? If I’ve been accustomed to storing my shit to the bursting brim, how do I become accustomed to upholding a standard of shit free living?
Well, here’s what I’ve got figured so far…

Tips on how to shit proof your brain:


1) Pay careful attention to what you feel at each and every moment. Sound tedious and annoying? You’ll get used to it. The feelings may be unpleasant, they may be irritating, uncomfortable, scary, whatever. Just freaking feel it. Notice it.

2) Speak up when necessary (it’s always necessary). Now that you know how you’re feeling, Get It Out. Out of your brain and out of your mouth. This might mean sharing your totally uncomfortable feelings with someone/ anyone who will listen (and support – key word here). It might mean sharing silently through art, music, a blank page, or whatever other creative outlet you are drawn towards. It might mean blasting your thoughts to the world wide web or through social media (try not to be one of those social media folks, though. But, if you must, you must). Point is, however you need to SHARE your thoughts, do it. Share. Speak up.

3) Expect NOTHING in return. “Huh? What do I mean, expect nothing in return? I’m putting it all out there, aren’t I due some support, comfort, or care of some kind?” Well, I can’t answer to what you are due or not due, but I can contest to the fact that if you are waiting for this type of feedback to validate your new found openness you will soon find yourself surrounded by the mental shit once again. Seeking the feedback is probably what got you crammed back there in the first place.

4) Which brings me to number four. Applaud yourself. Get your pom poms out and be ready to be your very own cheerleader. This is where the prize money is, folks. Now that you are here it is prime time to learn that you’ve got all the support, care, and comfort built right into your very own soul. You own it. Depending on your significant other,  your bestie, your mother, father, sister, brother, whomever to rally you through isn’t going to cut it. Why not? Because it’s not their job and it’s not consistent. Of course if you get the cozy comfort you’re looking for then squeeze it, kiss it, thank it, and wave to it gracefully as it leaves. Because it will. It always does.

5) Allow your own sense of confidence, comfort, and satisfaction to be fickle. The nature of feelings is that they change. Constantly. Which is pretty refreshing actually. This means you don’t have to be married to any one feeling. And if you’re not married to it, you don’t have to be mad at it when it goes away. Don’t worry, it will be back. It’s not leaving you, nor you leaving it. You are supporting your self here, not your feelings. Your self is stable, or it can be, once you realize your feelings are not attached. Let them come, let them go.

Keeping your mental space free and clear takes effort. That’s for damn sure. Noticing takes effort. Acknowledging takes effort. Supporting takes effort. But so does fighting. Fighting off feelings. Fighting for feedback. Fighting is a long arduous draining path down shit creek.

You choose where you place your effort: Towards creating and maintaining a peaceful, open, grounded space? Or one wrought with tension, barbed wire, and armor? I know my choice. I can probably guess yours, too.

			

Change: Means Sometimes Saying Goodbye

Change Change. It is a’comin. We are nearing the end of a school year and for most that means saying goodbye to familiar faces (young and old), comfortable places (known for one year or many), multiple school assignments, drawings, paintings, and projects that were once the subject of much debate, success, or demise. And from here, we look onward to a new school year. Change, it is a’comin.


At least we still have summer…


I’m especially aware of this time of change as my oldest child will be heading to kindergarten in the Fall. I thought I was ready for this until I went to register him at the elementary school.  At first I felt excited about the newness of the building, the pretty flowers out front, and the friendliness of the office staff. Then, I glanced down the hallways…. the big, long hallways. Those are too big for my kid, I thought to myself. He’ll feel lost. Overwhelmed. Scared. Alone. Certainly they’ll let me stay with him through his whole first day. Yes, certainly they will.

At least we still have summer….

I walked away from the school feeling a little heavier than when I walked in and I realized: Change. It is a ‘comin.

Change is hard. For me at least. Everyone who knows me knows I suck at change. Change, even for a 5 year old, means saying goodbye. Goodbye to the familiar and Hello to the unknown. Even the most exciting of changes means some kind of goodbye. Even when you can’t wait to get away from the familiar, it is still goodbye.  Is some change easier to manage than others? Sure. Though, even in the best of cases you are leaving a part of yourself behind. Sometimes you must. Because the new place you’re going doesn’t have room for the old.

You can’t hang on and move on at the same time.

 Change is hard. It may feel sad. Even when it’s good. Tears of sadness may be mixed with tears of gratitude. Confused salty tears. Such is the taste of change.

But, at least we still have summer.

5 things that are being pushed within me now the blog is live

5 things that are being pushed within me now that the blog is live

1.    I Am more intentional

Now it seems like everything I do I contemplate why, what it brings me, how does it make me feel. Yes, my brain has been on overload since the concept of our blog was nailed down. I find myself wishing I could stop and write many times during the day because I am thinking so much more about my actions, my thoughts, my feelings.

permission
from Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Continue reading

“I’m Trying to Feel Confident”: And Other Anxiety Avoiding Methods.

I met a little girl recently- she was coming in for her first counseling session to find a way out of her fairly extreme anxiety and worry. Given this knowledge of her current state of mind, I anticipated she would feel a little nervous getting started. As I usually do upon meeting a child for the first time, I asked her,  “how do you feel about being here today?” She shifted a bit in her seat, straightened her back to assist her in sitting as tall as possible, and then responded,
 
"I am trying to feel confident."
A bit taken aback by this statement, I responded, “Well, in here it is okay to feel however you really feel. Confident. Shy. Nervous. Scared. Happy. Sad. Whatever.”

“Oh.”, she replied as she relaxed her back into the chair, easing her shoulders into place. “Okay then.”

Continue reading